Education About Asia: Online Archives

They Chose China

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WHY WOULD AN AMERICAN PRISONER OF WAR (POW) CHOOSE TO SWITCH SIDES IN WARTIME? What factors would explain such a decision? In his recently released film, director Shuibo Wang attempts to answer these and many other questions. In his thought-provoking documentary, They Chose China, Wang forces the film’s viewers to take a long, hard look at their own biases and assumptions regarding the Cold War, American society, and the United Nations’ “police action” in Korea. The film highlights the actions of a handful of American soldiers captured by Chinese forces during the Korean War. As part of the cease-fire agreement, POWs on both sides were allowed to choose the country of their repatriation. Twenty-one Americans decided to live in the People’s Republic of China rather than return to their homes in the United States. Although they represented only a tiny fraction of the total POW population, their decisions dumbfounded most Americans